SWG Enviro: Premises

August, 2022

Legislative changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act could have an impact on pollution liability in the near future. Canada introduced in the Senate the Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act in February 2022, in which the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) will be modernized for the first time in twenty years.

This update will also include related amendments to the Food and Drugs Act. (1)Introduced in April 2021 as Bill C-28, the Strengthening Environmental Protection for a Healthier Canada Act was reintroduced on February 9th as Bill S-5.

The federal government has tried to amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) before, albeit unsuccessfully. This time, the new bill uses the same language as the original but has been introduced to the Senate instead. In addition to proposed changes, the government would be required to study the cumulative health effects of chemicals, identify and study vulnerable populations exposed to pollutants, and acknowledge “the right to a healthy environment.”

Proposed Changes Target Harmful Chemicals and Pollutants

Introduced in 1988, CEPA regulates toxic substances, greenhouse gases and other pollution to protect the environment and human health. (2).

CEPA is the cornerstone of environmental protection in Canada. Designed to protect both the environment and Canadians, CEPA has prevented plastic microbeads from entering our water, banned asbestos, and prohibited the use of BPA (bisphenol A) in baby bottles. Reintroducing this bill will allow the government to strengthen and update CEPA to keep pace with the evolving science around the risks associated with harmful chemicals and pollutants.

Here’s how it works. Firstly, the bill introduces a right to a healthy environment for the first time in a federal statute in Canada. Canadians would participate in developing the framework for implementing this right.

Ø By signing the bill, businesses would be encouraged to transition to producing and using chemicals that are safer for the environment and human health. Among other things, the bill mandates the development of a new plan for chemicals management, which proposes a new system for managing the most hazardous substances.

Ø Under the proposed amendments, the CEPA will require risk assessments to consider exposure to cumulative effects of substances on Canadians and the environment.

Ø A new Watch List would also be created in response to the proposed amendments so that Canadians and businesses will be able to see which substances they may wish to avoid.

Ø CEPA has had a substantial impact on Canadians and the environment. Since its implementation, CEPA has:

  • Eliminated the release of plastic microbeads into household drains, which contribute to the pollution of oceans, rivers, and lakes;
  • Banned asbestos and products containing asbestos, since exposure to asbestos fibres causes cancer and other diseases;
  • Banned the manufacture, importation, sale, or advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles that contain BPA (bisphenol A).

About SWG ENVIRO: Premises Liability

SWGENVIRO Premises Environmental Liability (PEI) policy addresses the risk of pollution arising at specified premises. Coverage is provided on a claims-made and reported basis.

Our Premises Environmental Liability can be customized to include cover for “Insured Work” undertaken away from the Insured Premises and cover can be provided for Aboveground and Underground Storage Tanks.

COVERAGE HIGHLIGHTS:

Premises Environmental Liability:

Ø Sudden and gradual pollution events

Ø Broad definition of pollutant including asbestos & mould

Ø Illicit abandonment of pollutants

Ø On-site and off-site clean-up costs

Ø Restoration costs

Ø Emergency response costs

Ø Natural resource damages

Ø Compensation for third party bodily injury and property damage

Ø Nuisance claims

Ø Civil fines and penalties

Ø Punitive damages, where insurable by law

Ø Legal defence costs

COVERAGE ENHANCEMENTS:

Ø Retroactive cover for pre-existing pollution

Ø Transported cargo

Ø Insured Work conducted off-site at third party facilities

Ø Waste disposal / Non-owned disposal sites

Ø Contractual liability e.g. in leases

Ø Above and underground storage tanks on your premises

We have a broad industry appetite which includes:

  • Manufacturing
  • Automobile Repair Garage or Sales Facility
  • Petrochemical and chemical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Petrochemical and chemical
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Electricity generation, transmission and distribution
  • Construction
  • Power and water utilities
  • Waste management
  • Logistics, transportation, and warehousing
  • Real estate
  • Healthcare – Retirement Homes, Nursing Homes, etc.
  • Education – Childcare, Daycare, etc.

For more information, visit our product page: https://swgins.com/product/premises.html

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.

Sources:

  1. https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/news/2022/02/strengthening-protections-for-canadians-and-the-environment-from-harmful-chemicals-and-pollutants.html
  2. https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/02/10/news/feds-reintroduce-changes-canadas-most-important-environmental-law